The Gift-Cards Edition Monday, November 25, 2019

Apple Announces Its Black Friday Deals: Up To $200 Apple Store Gift Card With Device Purchase, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following the release of Apple’s official guide, Apple is teasing its Apple Store deals today with a homepage banner, inviting customers to ‘save the date’. The company will offer up to $200 gift cards with the purchase of eligible Apple products like iPhones, iPads and Macs.

How To Capture Lightning On An iPhone, by Leigh :) Stark, Pickr

Essentially, when you see the lightning flash, press the on-screen shutter button or one of the volume buttons on your phone. The iPhone will snap the shot.

If you go and check the image out now, it will probably look like a photo of sky. Possibly darkened sky, but lightning-less sky all the same. No worries, we have a solution for this.

You’ve probably played with Apple’s Live Photo key photoframe in the past, but if you haven’t Apple allows you to edit the key frame from the photo, choosing extra photos from the tiny video your iPhone has shot with it.

Luminar 4, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Skylum has released Luminar 4, a major upgrade to its machine-learning photo editing app that brings an updated user interface and four new AI-powered tools.

5 Great Note-Taking Apps: Google Keep, Apple Notes, Bear Notes, Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, by Boone Ashworth, Wired

Every app in this list covers the essentials. You can use these options to jot down quick ideas, make checklists, set reminder notifications, or incorporate drawings and images. Beyond that, they each have a few unique features that fulfill specific needs. There isn’t any single "best app" for taking notes. But out of all the options, these are the best we’ve used.

Review: Kano Star Wars The Force Coding Kit Makes Coding Fun For Kids, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Kano's Star Wars The Force Coding Kit aims to help elementary-age students learn to code through experimentation and hands-on play. They help give kids an incentive to learn the basics of coding by gamifying it within the world of "Star Wars."


Think App Updates Suck? Try Upgrading A Programming Language, by Klint Finley, Wired

Coders make the shift for the same reasons consumers and businesses adopt new versions of software: to access new features, and maintain compatibility with modern hardware and common tools. But the updates can be more complex than installing a new version of Office or Quickbooks.


Myth Of The Silicon Valley Garage, And Loss Of A Dream, by TJ Lane, San Franciso Chronicle

Two paths lie before us. We can maintain the status quo and lose out on a generation of innovation. Or we can band together and uphold the foundational Myth of the Garage: That this is a place anyone — anyone! — can come to make their dreams reality. That’s the neighborhood I want to live in.

Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Global Plan To Save The Internet, by Ian Sample, The Guardian

The contract, which has been worked on by 80 organisations for more than a year, outlines nine central principles to safeguard the web – three each for governments, companies and individuals.


Those who back the contract must show they are implementing the principles and working on solutions to the tougher problems, or face being removed from the list of endorsers.

When Instagram Killed The Tabloid Star, by Amanda Hess, New York Times

The strip of sidewalk between a chauffeured limousine and an unhooked velvet rope formed the line of scrimmage between the celebrities and the tabloid press. It was all motivated by an antagonistic but symbiotic relationship among the famous people, the paparazzi and the fans. We watched it all with a compulsive loathing.

Few could predict that, just a few years later, this era of Hollywood would inspire nostalgia. But it has. “Pop Culture Died in 2009,” curated by a young man who was in grade school when Britney Spears commandeered the clippers at a hair salon and shaved her head, resurrects the era’s Us Weekly spreads and pap shots on Tumblr, retelling old tabloid tales about Mischa Barton and Paris Hilton and the “Leave Britney Alone” guy. What happened in 2010? Instagram happened.

Bottom of the Page

The very first time I listened to an audiobook was back when I was just a little 10-year-old boy, exploring my library’s newly-installed audio-visual room. I cannot remember what was the book-on-tape (yes, it was tape) that I checked out, but I definitely didn’t form any audiobook-listening habit. And by checked-out, I meant sitting down in front of a big cassette player, putting on a big headphone, and stare at nothing and not move for over an hour.

The very next time I listened to an audiobook was back in the middle of the 2000's. Apple has just released the cheaper iPod mini, which I bought, and podcasting just started, which I devoured. Audible was a frequent advertiser back then, and I was intrigued -- more stuff for my iTunes and iPod. So I joined the trial, downloaded my free audiobook (twenty-one hours of Stephen King's Bag of Bones), and discovered that I really do enjoy listening to books. I was hooked.

After I left school, work started, busy-ness intruded, and I stopped reading books for leisure. (I did ready Inside Macintosh almost cover-to-cover, but I don't think anyone can label that as 'leisure'.) Audiobooks rekindled my love of stories and imagination. From the very first real job, I've always had a long commute, and audiobooks, turn out, is the best way to fill up that time. Listening is also, for me, less distracting that using my eyes to read. After all, I don't have to make a decision every few seconds to either turn the e-pages or switch to a different app.

I am grateful that audiobooks exist, and that it is now so easy to borrow or rent or buy and listen. I wish my hearing will remain good enough to listen to books while I am getting older. Thank goodness for AirPods Pro and its excellent noise-cancelling technology that allows me to listen at a lower volume even in crowded and noisy trains so as to protect my hearing. (Or, at least, that's the excuse I gave myself while giving even more money to Apple.)


Thanks for reading.